MATTHEW LILLARD // artist profile
Photo by Peter Konerko

All Photos by Peter Konerko for @ This Stage Magazine

What energizes you as an artist?

Community and the fellowship of like-minded people. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’m convinced that love and shared experiences are the only things to value in life.

What’s been inspiring you lately?Aisha Quick Facts 4

Directing theatre is a real thing for me right now… it’s taking me deeper into my own understanding of the craft of acting (as pretentious as that sounds…) The practice of meditation. The men and women of our own armed services. My children and watching them grow into their own independence. Writing with a group of actors, creating together without separation. Dungeons and Dragons 5.0.

“If I wasn’t an artist…”

I’d be teaching full time. Or kicking ass on Wall Street making enormous amounts of money and buying really awesome stuff.

“As a child, I was…”

Talkative. The center of attention. I was… special. I was… overweight. I was left alone for hours with Star Wars action figures. I would read books. I was never afraid to pay the bills. I was afraid I was going to die in an atomic bomb. I once invented roller skates that could be used on the moon.

Who are your artist allies?

My greatest ally is my wife. She believes in me, even when I don’t believe in myself. Her endurance and ability to just say “yes” to my madness allows me to always stagger forward.

The actors of Animus Theatre Company in New York. Vancouver Film School and my students there. Bill Marchant. VS Theatre Company. Abe Benrubi. Zibby Allen. Dean Chekvala. Natalie Avital. Amy Peterson. Bill Rehor. My producer Andrew Carlberg and Phantom Owl Productions. My friends who give money to support the artistic endeavors I continually throw myself into. Dr. God. The artist Jillian Mayer. Rick and Noah Rosenthall/Whitewater Films… I could go on forever.

Photo by Peter KonerkoWho are your artistic heroes?

The people who fight through life and continue on their personal artistic journey. It’s hard to stay the course and hold onto being an artist. I use an analogy when I teach that likens the artist journey to being a single antelope trying to cross the Serengeti. There are a million ways to get lost or eaten along the way… you just gotta keep going. (Not an easy thought to articulate in half a paragraph…)

What’s your favorite (or go-to) LA “spot?”

The soccer field. Soho House. Watching my kids play sports.

Okay. Define art. Go!

It’s a very personal question but, for me, art is a calling worth living for. A code of sorts — much like honor, courage, chivalry, etc. Not everyone understands it, but some people live by it. It’s something to live for.

What are you currently working on?

I’m directing the European premieres of two plays: Neil LaBute’s Filthy Talk for Troubled Times and Stephen Belber’s Fault Lines. Both plays are playing in rep during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next month. My casts in these shows are also, very much, “artistic allies.” They’re tremendous. [You can help these plays, along with five other shows by Phantom Owl Productions, reach Edinburgh by donating on their website.]

What’s your creative goal for the next year?

I’m assistant directing a Broadway show with Joe Mantello in the spring so that I can continue to grow and hone my directing work. And to keep plotting across the Serengeti… surrounded by thousands of other antelopes.


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